Alzheimer’s

Checkmating Cognitive Impairment in Seniors

Checkmating Cognitive Impairment

It’s a well-known fact that our population is aging due advances in technology and medicine. The global average life expectancy is close to 80 years. Downside of this increase life expectancy is that it hasn’t been accompanied by an increase in the quality of life. Also, many seniors struggle with depression, loneliness and cognitive impairment.

Seniors are at the greatest risk

Seniors are at the greatest risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia. Chess being a particularly good brain builder, it reduces risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Besides, studies have shown that playing games like chess, which is a mentally stimulating game keeps seniors cognitively active. Playing chess also increases social interaction with others and thereby reduces loneliness.

Moreover, chess is a fairly easy game to learn and involves cognitive activities such as planning, strategy and analysis which keeps the mind sharp. Playing chess not only actively engages the brain but also improves social and physical wellbeing. Research has shown lower rates dementia in active chess players. Most importantly, there is no signs of dementia among all current chess grandmasters.

Benefits of playing chess

  • Cognitively-challenging activity
  • Provides seniors with a hobby
  • Increased socialization
  • Reduces depression due improved interactions with others
  • Improves emotional health
  • Stimulates all the parts of the brain
  • Lower rates of dementia
  • Improves Creativity
  • Strengthens mental capacity
  • Improves information retention
  • Also improves short-term and long-term memory
  • Uses both sides of the brain

In conclusion, chess seems like a treatment for cognitive impairment that really works. Further reading – A game of chess a day may keep Alzheimer’s at bay – The Hindu

3 mobility devices that will help seniors be safe

3 mobility devices that will help seniors be safe.

One of the worst fear caregivers have is that of seniors falling. Falls can lead to serious injuries and sometimes be fatal. Keeping seniors independent can be challenging, especially if they resist making changes. Many seniors are not willing to consider mobility devices that keeps them safe.

It’s important that you discuss mobility issues with your loved ones. Be calm, non-judgmental and don’t force the issue, instead help them understand consequences of a fall. We are all aware that as seniors get older, they will need help moving around. Here are 3 mobility devices that will help them be safe.

3 mobility devices that will help seniors

  1. Canes / Walkers – Canes and walkers are some of the most popular mobility devices. These devices not only help in maintaining a healthy posture but also helps seniors with general weakness or balance issues.
  2. Wheelchairs – Wheelchairs are of different types primarily attendant & self-propelled. A self-propelled is equipped with large wheels with an outer push ring that allows users to propel & navigate the wheel chair using their arms. An attendant wheel chair comes with a smaller set of wheels with handles for an attendant to push the wheelchair around.
  3. Rollators – Rollators are walkers with a seat for elders who require balance support as well as a place to sit down when they feel weary. Rollators are especially useful when going for walks in safe places like malls and gated communities.

For more information : https://www.oldisgoldstore.com/home-by-condition-mobility-issues

How to handle a parent who has become, bitter, rude and even more stubborn as they have aged?

DementiaThough this may sound pithy, it is true that old people are like children. And sometimes, the older they get, the more child-like and/or childish they become. While this can be endearing at times, it can also be very frustrating and annoying. Not to mention, difficult to manage.

If you feel that your elder loved one is behaving badly, ask yourself this question.
Is this completely new, surprising behaviour or is this their usual inherent traits getting magnified a bit (or a lot)?

If you feel that there is a sudden and drastic change in the personality of the person, then this could be a symptom of dementia. Seek professional help. Take the loved one to a neurologist and have a proper assessment done.

Dementia is a generic term for decline in mental ability of a person. It is not a specific disease. Alzheimer’s is one of the common forms of dementia among elders. Dementia results in a loss of ability to perform even routine tasks properly and the person suffering from this may become frustrated and angry at their own inability which can then manifest itself in the form of bad behaviour.

If on the other hand, the traits exhibited have always been inherent in the person, except that it is coming to the fore more often and more forcefully, then it could be due to other factors.

In both cases, a lot of patience, tolerance, love and care are needed. Here are few tips for handling such situations:

1.Try and identify the cause(s) for their frustration.

2. Help them in tasks they are having difficulty with.

3. Where possible assist them in finding ways by which they can remain independent, rather than taking up those tasks yourself. For example,

– If they are constantly forgetting things, get them a board on which they can write things they need to remember and allow them to use it to supplement their memory.

-If they are forgetting dates and seasons, get them a big calendar that they can refer to regularly.

-Sometimes they are misplacing things, help declutter their living environment and designate places for the things they misplace. For example, a decorative and distinct keyholder can ensure that they hang all the keys there. A spectacle stand kept within ready reach can help them remember to leave their specs in the same place most of the time.

-If they are getting lost, buy them a wearable GPS tracker. This may not help them but will help you ensure that they don’t wander away and get lost.

If they are abusive or physically threatening, then get them to sit down and explain why such behaviour is disturbing to you and ask them how you can make them happier. If that does not work, you can switch to expressing your displeasure at being abused and take certain actions to ensure that they get the message that you will not tolerate bad behaviour. For example, you can move out of the room saying “I am not going to come back till you calm down and behave properly”. If they get physically violent, get support.

If they are suspicious of you, don’t take it personally. Many times, you are the only person they are interacting with and so you become the easiest target to vent out all their frustration, anger and suspicion. If they are worried about monetary issues, keep their bank passbooks and other asset related papers somewhere close to them, so they can go through them whenever they want and reassure themselves.

Each case is unique. The main thing to remember is that you don’t have to face it all alone. Get help. Talk to your friends and family. Enlist their support. Talk to fellow caregivers. Join a self-help group. Approach NGOs that are working with elders.

Above all, tell yourself that their behaviour is not a reflection of their opinion of you. Don’t let your self-esteem suffer. All the best!